Frozen Clumps of Dirty Snow

It’s been snowing here again this week. It’s COLD out and the roads are icy. There’s this thing that happens to cars in Utah snow: behind each tire a clump of dirty snow builds up when you drive. The tires kick the snow back and it sticks to the body of the car in the little space behind the tires. These big clumps of frozen dirty snow build up until they get so big, they have to fall off or melt off. Too often they are still hanging on when you pull into the garage, where they eventually fall or dissolve into huge puddles of dirty water under the car. If you have old scraps of carpet in under the car to catch any oil drips, they absorb that dirty water like sponges, and with the cold and damp, they stay wet for days, sometimes weeks. It’s not pleasant.

One of my favorite winter pastimes is to walk through parking lots kicking the dirty snow clumps off of cars. One kick is usually enough to loosen the pack and it drops to the ground, sometimes hard as a packed snow block, sometimes loose and slushy, landing in a splat. It’s one of the most rewarding outdoor pastimes I know of in our snowy Utah winters. I can not pass by a car without kicking off the snow clumps. I like to think I am doing people a favor, but really, I just enjoy freeing those cars of their burdens. There is nothing like the sensation of feeling that chunk of frozen dirt fall to the ground at my feet. Ahhhh, I love it!

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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3 Responses to Frozen Clumps of Dirty Snow

  1. Ed Watson says:

    Made me laugh. I like doing this too. I was wondering if the dirt is a factor for making snow clump, and if so, what’s the mechanism?

  2. R. Calabrese says:

    The correct term for compacted snow in the wheelbase of a vehicle is ‘muchet’ from Old Occitan ‘myuchea’ meaning ‘dirty snow’ and Lombardic French ‘et,’ meaning lesser or diminutive.

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